US & Canada

No escape yet from 'Swantanamo' for Ottawa royal swans

Royal Swan in Ottawa
Image caption Waiting for a new winter home: royal swans in Ottawa

Plans to approve a new winter home for a flock of royal swans in the Canadian capital Ottawa in time for a visit by Queen Elizabeth II have been delayed.

Campaigners dubbed the animals' current off-season accommodation Swantanamo Bay, saying it is squalid and cramped.

Ottawa's city council has postponed a debate scheduled for Tuesday about a new home home for the birds.

They are descendants of six pairs of mute swans presented by the Queen to Ottawa to mark Canada's 1967 centenary.

The swans spend their summers on the Rideau River, but are moved indoors when the temperatures drop in the autumn.

The council was to discuss a $350,000 (£230,000) proposal to provide a modern off-season residential space and swimming area for the birds.

But the debate has been postponed to make time for more pressing business, said an Ottawa City Hall spokesman.

Clarence Dungey, of the Save Ottawa's Swans campaign, said he was extremely disappointed by the setback.

Liz White, of the Ontario Wildlife Federation, said Ottawa should take better care of its royal swans.

"The housing should be top notch. They ought to be treated like royalty - not like a bother," she said.

The Queen arrived in Canada on Monday for a nine-day tour and will spend the national holiday, Canada Day, in the capital on Thursday.

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